Monday, June 28, 2010

life is fleeting. only He is constant and unfailing.

This whole relation I am about to explain may seem confusing to you, but today we got word of the death of my step-grandfather's son. So, not really my uncle at all, but still someone close to my family. He was only 53, and died in the hospital in his hometown of Juneau, Alaska. He lost his father (my step-grandfather) this past summer, and has had severe diabetes all his life, among other health concerns. He was not married and worked as the maintenance worker for an apartment, which surely did not help his many health problems. If anyone had reason to complain, it was him. Despite this fact I distinctly remember him for his humor and silly self-depricating manner. He was always poking fun at himself and making the best of whatever situation he was in.

Even though he lived far away and I rarely saw him, hearing this news really got me to thinking about the future. Yes, Randy had health concerns, but no one saw this coming. I can't help but get scared knowing that I can't even count on being alive tomorrow. Our society is built on the idea that we must constantly plan things, map out our future... our schooling, our career, preparing for our future financial situation... but none of it is guaranteed. NONE of it.

These verses from James hit me like a ton of bricks: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Wow.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am reading "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. Chapter 2 is called You Might Not Finish This Chapter. Chan emphasizes the point in this verse that we legitimately ARE vapors. We may not believe it, but we really could vanish any second, and be gone. That's it. Poof. Dunzo on Earth. Which, if you are going to the right place, won't be an issue, but since life is fleeting it is absolutely necessary to, in every second of our lives, glorify Him in all we do.

I'll be honest. From day to day, I don't think about dying. I go on living my life as if I had the rest of it to live. I think about what I'm doing this weekend, and worry about what job I will get. Who am I to say I will be fortunate enough to live that long? I'm not anyone. You hear about things that happen on the news, or to acquaintances and it seems like nothing, it doesn't affect you. It is only once you have a personal experience that it hits you.

I can only hope that with this realization I will begin to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him every single day. There's no "I'll do it tomorrow" when it comes to serving Him. Chan's book is EXCELLENT. As I have said, it is difficult to read but I highly recommend it. I feel like it will help me in my journey with Christ and help me to truly love Him like I should.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crazy Love, Part I

Just started reading an amazing book by Francis Chan called "Crazy Love". I bought it a few weeks ago but just got around to reading it, ironically it talks a good bit about the love that God has for his children that I was thinking about after the wedding.

This book is one of the hardest books to read. Ever. Since I have begun reading it, I have doubted my faith in God. Not my faith in itself, but the amount of faith in Him and the degree of my love and commitment to him. My world is being rocked right now. I don't like what I'm reading, because it reveals so much about my inherent attitude towards God, but I am so glad I'm reading it, if that makes any sense. More updates to come later when I'm done reading. Pick it up. Read it. Take it seriously. You will be challenged, for sure.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"he liked it, and he put a ring on it."

Today, I attended an absolutely amazing wedding in St. Simon's Island, Georgia. One of my Young Life leaders from high school, Claire Carlton, got married to Patrick Gibson, also a former YL leader. I am so incredibly happy for her. Having known her for years, her YL girls have seen her relationships and I am so happy she has found someone who loves God as much as she does, and will take care of her. The ceremony was small and absolutely beautiful. The couple didn't exactly write their own vows, but the pastor (our YL area director!) read their responses to the question "Why do you think God intended you to marry this man/woman?" and hearing their personal responses was so sweet. All this talk about love got me to thinking a little bit.

I feel like the term "love" is WAY overused in today's society. I "love" a cute dress, or Mellow Mushroom pizza, or something, and actually the use of that word is an exaggeration of my affections for the object (and sometimes even person). I understand that people love their family, boyfriends, husbands, wives, girlfriends, etc., but I got to thinking, yes, love is a really important and heavy thing, but is SOOOO miniscule in the whole grand scheme of what true love is.

The Bible is the ultimate love story. Period. God knew us before we were done, formed us in our wombs, gave us purpose. He sent his son to teach us, suffer for us, and then die. And he promises that Jesus will come back, one day. God's love is the ultimate form of love. No earthly love can even compare to his affection and devotion towards His children, and this love is unfathomable. I don't know WHY God would want to love someone like me, when He is how He is. But he does anyway.

I was talking with my friend Valerie about how amazing God's love is. It shouldn't even be called love, since it is on a whole other level than this earthly love I mentioned. There is no way we can love a person the way God loves us. It is human nature to point out flaws in others, and notice imperfections. We are wonderful in God's eyes, and though we are not perfect, he overlooks this fact and forgives us every single day if we choose to have Him in our hearts to do so. I cannot fathom it.

That was my little thought blurb. I am obsessed with weddings. I cannot wait until mine, whenever it comes, whoever it is to. Marriage is something that is so sacred, and I can only hope that in and through my love to my husband I can express and understand God's love for me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

futbollin'

So, I remember my sports-crazed friends (and even those who aren't sports-crazed) constantly talking about the World Cup months and months before it started a week or so ago. I have honestly never had any interest in watching soccer. Or soccer period. My career consisted of maybe 3 years playing in elementary and middle school PRAYING the ball would never come my way and only holding out for the trophy at the end. No lie.

So, this weekend I went to the lake with my dear best friends Parkes and Natalie. I have made fun of Natalie for the past few weeks about her strange new obsession over the World Cup and was reluctant and whiny when we watched part of the USA vs. England game (Sorry I'm not super patriotic :/ ) but I ended up getting really interested in it. So, gooooooo Natalie!

So now that I'm interested, I watched the Denmark vs. Netherlands game with the little boys I babysit before we left for VBS, then today at the gym I stayed on the elliptical for longer than usual (WHOA there, Ryann) just to watch the end of Paraguay vs. Italy to end in a tie. I have scheduled my whole durn day around these games. So with that... GO USA!


Monday, June 7, 2010

artsy fartsy.

So it may be this summer boredom, but I am feeling super-artsy lately. Is that dumb? Not really. As I sit at my computer, wasting my time, I realize how much time I waste seeing how others express themselves through technology without ever really doing it myself.

When I was in elementary school and middle school, I used to do oil paintings. One is in my parent's bathroom and I went in there the other day and noticed it. How the HECK was I able to do that? I had some instruction, but there is no way they were able to show me how to do all of that. Seeing what I can do then and remembering lately how friends have told me how good I am at designing t-shirts, posters, drawing, etc., I kind of want to get back into it. That being said, no way am I going to break out the canvases, turpentine, and oil paints, but I want to maybe use acrylic paints on canvases to make decorations for my dorm room next year. Eventually, when I have more time (like THAT will ever happen), maybe I can fully take up my old hobby once again.

Another artistic whim I have had recently is a yearning to learn more about photography. I always attempt to take artistic pictures with my measly point-and-shoot, but to no avail I fail most of the time. With my upcoming trips to Hawaii this summer and Peru next January, I think it would be awesome to have a good, quality digital SLR camera. I have gotten advice from multiple friends with such cameras as to what brand and model to get, I've heard Nikons and Canons are the best, and as of now I'm leaning towards a Canon. Obviously, price is a big issue, my cheapest option is probably around $500, sadly. I really think it would be worth it though, and though I need to research for a few more weeks, I am super excited to eventually get one and experiment with it.